B2 Reading Gapped Text Exam 2
The British Theatres Awards
Jane Fennel was on the judging panel of this year's British Theatre Awards. This meant that although she was not a professional theatre critic, she had to see many many plays and had to write pages of notes for each visit. She is an ordinary member of the public and was one of four theatre-lovers chosen to judge all new drama productions (excluding musicals) last year.
Mrs Fennel likes this system because she feels that it is important to have amateurs playing a part in the decision making to stop the awards appearing as if they have been fixed. As a consequence, if a play wins an award, the public know that it's been approved by people with no axe to grind. She is luckily a serious theatre enthusiast and watched over thirty plays the previous year.
She was chosen from several hundred applicants who like her had filled in a form left on a foyer shelf by the Society of London Theatre, which organises the awards. Another thing they all had in common was that they all had very wide taste in theatre. She had always enjoyed acting in plays and regularly bought cheap tickets to see a show as a student in London. Being a judge was hard work, though.
Even so, she had no complaints and managed to find some redeeming qualities in whatever she saw, although she had to take extensive notes on everything.
This is because she wasn't just judging the actors but also the costume design, the direction, the lighting and the script. There were twelve categories in total, and it was difficult but she enjoyed the experience and felt enormously privileged.
That apparently didn't happen and everything was very civilised and friendly. She felt her opinions were listened to and the voting was fair, even though theatre critics are famous for having the power to make or break a play.
She wasn't treated differently and made to feel less able or qualified to give her opinion. The experience has left her optimistic about the theatre's future. She feels there is an enormous amount of talent in all areas, from playwriting to direction, and there are plenty of innovative developments in productions. She adds that new writing should be encouraged and that the theatre is definitely alive and kicking.
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